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Poker Stories Podcast: Freddy Deeb

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Apr 25, 2018

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Poker Stories is a long-form audio podcast series that features casual interviews with some of the game’s best players and personalities. Each episode highlights a well-known member of the poker world and dives deep into their favorite tales both on and off the felt.

Age: 62
Hometown: Beirut, Lebanon
Live Tournament Earnings: $8.6 million

Top Five Tournament Scores

Date — Tournament — Place — Winnings
June 2007 — WSOP Poker Players Championship — 1st — $2,276,832
Sept. 2005 — Ultimate Poker Classic — 1st — $1,000,000
May 2010 — WPT Rendez-Vous a Paris High Roller — 1st — $385,561
Aug. 2015 — WPT Legends of Poker — 2nd — $383,090
Oct. 2009 — WPT Festa Al Lago — 4th — $278,300

Freddy Deeb is one of the most accomplished poker players in history, with two World Series of Poker bracelets, two World Poker Tour titles, and more than $8.5 million in live earnings. The Beirut-born Deeb was well on his way to a degree in mechanical engineering at Utah State University before a civil war broke out back home in Lebanon, forcing him to turn to poker to get by.

In addition to his success on the tournament circuit, which includes a win in the 2007 WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship, the now 62-year-old Deeb has also been a regular in some of the biggest cash games in the world, and appeared on shows such as High Stakes Poker, and the Poker Superstars Invitational.

Highlights from this interview include the problem with being a hands-off business owner, the meat hustle, escaping from LA… to Utah, real estate regret, turning $60 into $97,000 in one day, why he doesn’t play props anymore, losing an $800,000 pot to George the Greek, a big swap with Chip Reese, a two-hour stint canning fruit, surviving hurricanes, and why a quick bet is usually a bluff.

The Highlights

On turning $60 into nearly six figures in one day at the Bike…

“I had about $80 left. I’m walking around and they start a $3-$6 game. I asked the floorman if he had a seat and he said yes. I buy $60 in the game. I win about $300. The lists those days when they legalized hold’em were 40 or 50 deep. Even $3-$6. The only reason I got a seat is because [they just happened to be] starting a new game. The list was crazy. It was like they were giving money for free or something. There was a $20-$40 game, however, and I watched these guys play so bad four-handed. I bring my chips, I sit in the game, I play two hours, and I win like $4,500. The game filled up, I got bored, so I quit. I walk around, and I see guys playing $100-$200 limit hold’em. I watched, and asked the floorman what the buy-in was. He said $2,000, I said, ‘give me $4,000.’ I played, and [quickly], I’m winning almost $25,000. I lose a capped pot on the last hand, and I quit with $23,000. It’s not over yet. I walk around a little bit, they are playing $200-$400 limit, with stud, hold’em and lowball. I had never played lowball in my life, but the game was so good. So I sit in the game with $5,000, and after two or three hours, I had about $20,000 in front of me. They wanted to kick it up to $300-$600, and I said, ‘let’s go!’ They play another hour, and they want to kick it up to $400-$800. When the day was over, I cashed out almost $97,000.”

On losing a massive pot to George the Greek…

“The biggest pot I ever lost was $800,000, and I was playing with the worst player ever… George the Greek. He lost… I don’t know how many millions at the Mirage. I was playing him heads-up, $200,000 buy-in. I had him beat for another $200,000 and we both ended up sitting with over $400,000 each. [In an Omaha hand], I flopped the total nuts, and he flopped the second nuts. He was drawing [nearly] dead on the flop, but he had a pair in his hand. The board paired, and then he hit his two-outer on the river. Anyway, that was the biggest pot I ever lost. I played a lot of $500,000, or $600,000 pots. I’ve won more than I lost.”

On his biggest business regret…

“I put the money on deposit at the Bike, I took $5,000, and I drove back to the same hotel in Long Beach. This was a hotel right on the beach, with rooms where you open the door and can walk right out onto the sand. Beautiful. I said, ‘how much for a month?’ She said, ‘$850.’ So I paid her for three months [up front.] You know how long I lived at that hotel? I lived there for three and a half years. In the same room. I almost bought the hotel. The guy that used to manage it was very old, and he saw that I had money. I was always buying new cars. The guy said he could probably get it for me for $1.6 million. My credit was great, and I had about $700,000 in cash. I could have bought it in one second, but unfortunately, a friend talked me out of it. That hotel today is probably worth at least $50 million. More than the restaurant, that was my biggest regret.”

You can check out the entirety of the interview in the audio player at the top of the page or download it directly to play on the go from iTunes or your favorite podcast app.

Catch up on past episodes featuring Daniel Negreanu, Nick Schulman, Barry Greenstein, Chris Moorman, Bryn Kenney, Mike Sexton, Brian Rast, Scott Seiver, Greg Raymer, Maria Ho and many more. If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe to get the latest episodes automatically when they are released.